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I am almost 42 years old.  I recently had anterior cervical fusion surgery (C3-C4, C4-C5) with discectomy.  My surgery was March 2nd and I'm still home recovering.  I was a very active person prior to surgery and have remained so since surgery walking at least 3 miles daily.  I am not overweight, I maintain a healthy diet, do not smoke, and was in excellent health prior to last year when I was hit by a truck while riding my bicycle.  A little over year after the accident, after healing time, physical therapy, chiropractic care and massage therapy, etc, a myleogram was performed because I continued to suffer from chronic pain in my upper neck/head, shoulders and my neuro told me I needed the surgery for the herniations caused by my accident.

So far, I'm feeling good overall.  I had some difficulty swallowing for the first 7 days post-surgery but that is all but gone now.  I didn't need any pain meds after I left the hospital.  The only discomfort I really have felt is from the incision itself and tightness/pain in my right shoulder (which I think is more from the neck brace that I wear).  My headaches are gone....99% of all discomfort I had prior to the surgery is gone.  I've had some residual nerve pain but it has been minor overall and intermittent.  It seems to have stopped this week altogether. 

I do not have my check-up with my neuro til Apr 3rd. And, I have a few questions. 

1.  My neuro recommended no massages til my 4-week post check up.  I don't understand this as I think massage therapy is beneficial to healing. It increase blood flow, etc.  I wouldn't want pressure on my neck but my shoulders, arms, and the rest of my body would benefit.  Has anyone else been advised of this?

2.  For those who had cervical disc herniations (C3-C4, C4-C5) and surgery like I have had, what limitations were prescribed to you long term by your physician?  No riding roller coasters?  Any physical limitations/quality of life impacts either short or long term?

3.  I saw on the internet today that some who have Anterior Cervical Fusion end up needing surgery again in the future to repair surrounding discs because the fusion, etc. some times put stress on the discs surrounding the area repaired.  Has this happened to anyone? 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice/knowledge you can share. 

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Hi Magnolia,

 

I am 42 years old already :-) male, from The Netherlands and had a fusion C5,C6, C7 in January.

Snowboard accident :-(

Was also very active before, I am doing pretty OK but got rid of my neckbrace now and very stiff neck and painfull muscles.

I had some minor spinal cord compression ( C6 burst fracture, corpectomy, titanium cage) and since 2 months now some issue's with my nerves. Arms and hands, pins and needles intermittent.

Numbness in right foot and burning upper right leg.

As for restrictions, I noticed my range of motion is almost the same, but I am afraid in case of C3 ,4 and 5 you might have limited range of motion left and right .....

As for massages, I had some a few weeks after surgery and didn't harm me at all as long away from the neck and gentle I think it is fine.

Repair surrounding disks, I understood there is a 20% chance for this but only after 10 or 15 years.

 

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Thanks and take care

 

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Thanks for the reply!
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I think I am about to under go the procedure again as my good side has know become extremely painful, even more than my left sided pain that prompted the initial procedure.

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Hello I just had my third cervical fusion on C-4through C-7. I had C-5 done years ago but it is true the stress from the plate and fusion will cause damage to the surrounding discs. I had back surgery last year fromthepressure so be careful as no falling, lifting or anything, life has to chage and to me it feels almost as to much of nothing. still in alot of pain and cn not wallow very well and my feet are swollen very bad and that has never happened. Good luck, be careful,

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 God Bless

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I am a 60 year old RN and had successful double ACDF (C6/7, C5/6) for traumatic cervical disc herniation 2 years ago. These levels carry a greater load than the other cervical discs. In answer to your questions:
1. No massage means no deep massage or manipulation of the neck while the fusion is healing. As long as your neck and head are comfortably supported a general massage is fine.
2. I took over 6 months to recover but was able to gradually return to full nursing duties, including patient handling, but no heavy lifting.(which we shouldn't be doing anyway)
3. The discs above and below the fusion are slightly more vulnerable to injury or degeneration and 3% of ACDF patients get this Adjacent Segment Disease, as it is called, for each year following surgery. Over 10 years about 25% will develop it in total. However even if this happens not all need repeat surgery. I now have a bulging disc at C4/5 and arm pain/ hand weakness after an assault by mentally unwell patient but it is being managed conservatively.

Prior to my surgery I was off work, on morphine for the pain and had lost about 70% of the use of my left arm. My surgeon did a great job and continues to take good care of me, I have never regretted having the surgery. I have now taken a less strenuous nursing advisors' job but continue to work full time, and do all the other activities I did before my injury.
I wish you well in your recovery.
Val Bailey
New Zealand
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